The Vampire Diaries: Salvation (Short Story)

0

IMG_8221

Text copyright ©2017 by the author

All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements of The Vampire

Diaries remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of

Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. and Alloy Entertainment, LLC., or their

affiliates or licensors.

*****

DEDICATION

To Jess & Dari. ❤

*****

The night is cold, but Damon Salvatore doesn’t notice as he stalks through the woods just outside of Mystic Falls. His blue eyes scan his surroundings, casually sniffing the air until his senses pick up the scent he’s been craving. Blood. He smirks callously as he speeds through the trees, his image nothing but a blur to follow. He growls at the delicious scent, which lies just out of his current reach.

Without warning, Damon slows to a dead stop behind a thick tree. His brown hair a perfect mess from the speed, but his features those of a deadly beast. His face contorts, allowing the darkness within to reveal itself. His eyes narrow with a hollow expression as he snarls, baring his razor-sharp, vampire teeth. A gasp escapes from just ahead.

“H-Hello?” a faint man’s voice cries out. “I-Is someone there?”

Damon remains silent as he stalks his victim. It’s a young hunter, mostly likely having just graduated from high school the previous year. He scans the forest around him with his inferior eyesight, not seeing the vampire that stood mere feet away from him. Damon snarls away, skulking behind a different tree. The kill itself is always enjoyable, but Damon preferred playing with his victims before draining them fully of their warm, still pumping blood. He always seemed to get an extra kick, a sudden rush when they died in a state of terror.

“Show yourself!” the man screams out, but the volume doesn’t reflect his bravery. Damon smirks when he catches sight of his trembling hands on his hunting gun. “I’m armed… a-and I will shoot you.”

“Is that so?” Damon whispers, causing the man to delve deeper into a fit of panic. He aims the gun directly where Damon’s voice had come from moments earlier, but he’s not there anymore. That was part of the fun. Toying with a person’s senses, and paranoia levels. “I’m over here.”

“Just show yourself!” the man screamed, raising his gun, and tucking it closer to himself.

A smirk. A soul-destroying chuckle. The man turns around and comes face to face with Damon, who bares his fangs with thirst. He struggles with shaking hands to pull the trigger but his hand slips.

“Go ahead, try again,” Damon taunts.

But with no other choice, the hunter obliges. He slips his finger back into the hole and pulls the trigger. The bullet pierces Damon through the stomach as he recoils to the ground. Damon gasps once for air before going limp.

The hunter, unaware of who he had just shot, inches closer to Damon’s body on the ground. He keeps his gun trained on the vampire’s face as he nudges Damon in the foot. There’s no movement. He kicks hard, but there’s still no movement. With a heavy sigh of relief, suspecting he’s just avoided death, the hunter turns and briskly walks away from the site.

But as he walks, he can’t help but wonder if he’s only hearing one set of footsteps crunching leaves beneath shoes… or two. When his nerves finally get the better of him, the hunter turns and comes face-to-face with Damon. The vampire smirks as he yanks the man’s head to the side and shoves his teeth deep into his warm flesh. He drinks the blood without reservation as it drips down his chin. He growls with pleasure until the hunter’s skin is pasty white. Dead white. Damon pushes the man’s corpse aside like it’s disposable garbage now as it tumbles down a short hill.

“Delicious,” he says to himself, smirking as he carries on with his stroll.

It’s quiet again as he wipes the blood from his lips, licking up the remnants from his fingertips. But it isn’t long before he pauses again, catching another scent from somewhere within the woods. This time, however, his eyes narrow like a lion protecting his territory. A shrill scream pierces through the night air.

“Not in my woods.”

He bolts through the dense forest until he reaches a small clearing. A savage vampire, most likely newborn and unable to quench his thirst in moderation, lunges towards a little native girl. The girl catches sight of Damon by the clearing edge and reaches out to him.

“Help me!” the little girl screams.

Damon groans and rolls his eyes as he saunters towards her. He cockily says, “Only if you promise not to tell anyone how I was your hero.”

“I promise!” she cries out as the newborn vampire grabs her by the shoulders.

Immediately, he darts over, grabs the vampire by the shoulder and throws him across the clearing. The vampire hisses at him.

“What the hell!” the young vampire yells through gritted teeth, clearly annoyed with Damon’s involvement. “Can’t you smell her? Her blood’s so… fresh!”

The vampire attempts another attack as Damon easily tosses him back.

“Do you want her? Is that it?” he asks, suddenly staring from Damon to the girl. “Well, you can’t. I found her first!”

“Really? Is she the best you can do?” Damon asked sarcastically, shaking his head with a tsk tsk tsk. “And you call yourself a vampire.”

“I want her!”

“Well, today’s your unlucky day. You met the one vampire that has a single rule he swears by.”

Offended, the young vampire snarls and diverts his next attack at Damon, who remains still with a sly smirk. He bares his teeth and reaches out as suddenly, Damon vanishes from sight. The young vampire stops just as the Salvatore brother reappears behind him and with a swift motion, reaches up and snaps the vampire’s neck. He shakes his head as he watches the vampire fall.

“Never kill a child.”

As he turns, the little girl he just saved suddenly ambushes him. She wraps her arms around his waist in a suffocating bear hug.

“Thank you, Sir. Thanks for saving my life!”

“Sir?” Damon repeats in a disgusted voice. “Run along kid, before I change my rule just this once.”

“You wouldn’t,” a soft voice states, from somewhere behind him. He turns, with the little one still clinging to him, as he spots a young native shaman woman standing on the other side of the clearing.

“Oh yeah? Don’t test me,” Damon says with a smirk.

The pair has a silent standoff, as Damon makes no move to harm the little girl. Finally, she lets go and rejoins the shaman as she begins making a fire.

“Are you two…”

“My name’s Shiloh,” the shaman states, satisfied when the flames lick up into the air. She sits down, so the fire flicks manically between her and Damon. Shiloh nods to the little girl as she sits down, too. “This is my little sister, Becca.”

“So, what’s all… this?” Damon asks, motioning to the girls, the fire, and the clearing. “Don’t tell me you live here.”

“Nope! My big sis is a shaman. We come here so she can work in peace,” Becca explains excitedly. Damon raises an eyebrow with curiosity as he inches towards the fire. “We were just telling stories to each other of all the supernatural creatures that could exist.”

“Is that so?” Damon scoffs. “I bet vampires weren’t on your list.”

“Actually, they were.”

“I was telling my sister that even the darkest, most foul of beasts have the potential for redemption,” Shiloh states.

“Even Satan himself?” Damon says with a smirk, mocking her abilities.

“You know we’re not speaking about Satan,” she retorts without missing a beat.

Although Damon hesitates at first, his curiosity is overwhelming, and he has nothing better to do, so he decides to sit down on the other side of the fire. It flickers high into the air, casting eerie shadows across the clearing and distorting their faces through the flames.

“Enlighten me. Who needs redemption?”

“You.”

Damon cackles. “You’re full of it. Why would I need to be redeemed? I haven’t needed that since I turned.”

“But wouldn’t you like to feel again? Wouldn’t you like to have a second chance at life?” Shiloh persists, refusing to allow Damon to skirt around the subject.

“Not really. I got all I need.” He flashes her a smug grin, as though insinuating his charming features are everything.

“Humor me, then. For saving my little sister, allow me to show you that redemption is still attainable, regardless of your vampirism. Regardless of how much you want to pretend you don’t want it.”

Damon smirks as he averts his gaze to the flame itself. He lost his old life, the love of his life… even his own brother… a long time ago. He hasn’t wanted any of it back for decades now. Not since his brother went Ripper on him.

“Please?” Becca asks with pleading eyes. “My sister is really good. She’s never had someone disappointed after she’s shown them their truth.”

Damon rolls his eyes in exaggerated circles as he nods. He wouldn’t think twice about killing any grown adult, but he’s always had a little soft spot for children.  He always assumed it was because of their eyes. They were like puppy eyes. And who could say no to a pleading puppy?

“Fine. One vision.”

Damon smirks as he watches Shiloh through the fire. She slips her satchel off her shoulder and rests it on the ground in front of her. The shaman pulls out a coffee tumbler and unscrews the lid as Damon shakes his head.

“I don’t do coffee. It’s a bit… light.”

Shiloh ignores his remark as she hands him the tumbler. He takes one stiff drink, and can immediately tell it’s not coffee. It smells like an odd assortment of herbs, but he can’t distinguish one from the others. Without receiving any instructions on how much to take, he takes a massive swig. The liquid burns going down his throat as he gags on the foul taste.

“You should put a warning label on that,” Damon says through coughs.

“Just focus on the liquid slipping down your throat and into your stomach. Focus on nothing else but that feeling,” Shiloh whispers.

Although Damon obliges, it grows difficult to concentrate on the feeling as she begins to chant beneath her breath. He attempts to drown her out as he focuses on the burning sensation slipping further down his throat. As soon as the liquid inside of his stomach begins to burn, Damon falls straight back on the ground in a daze. He stares at the sky as the flickering flames cast shadows.

The starry sky and flames dance around each other until they appear to blend, morph into something of a smoky illusion. Damon watches the smoke shift its shape into a beautiful girl, two stars fading into what appeared to be two brown eyes.

The short girl with brown hair appears like an innocent and sweet angel in the death and destruction that is his life. She walks with her friends out of a school with large letters on the roof, “MYSTIC FALLS HIGH SCHOOL.”

“Mystic Falls,” Damon mutters to himself, still in a daze as Shiloh continues to chant under her breath.

She focuses solely on the flames that separate her from Damon, while Becca tosses another log into the fire.

The smoky vision girl smiles as she waves to one of her approaching friends.

“Hey, Elena. How was class?”

“Elena…” Damon whispers.

Without warning, his eyes widen with recognition as Elena’s face gains more solid features. She continues to smile at her friend as she responds.

“That voice…” Damon mutters to himself with odd recognition.

Although he had never met Elena before, there was something strangely familiar about her. Like, he had met her somewhere before in real life. But in his current hazy state, he’s unable to place her.

The smoke morphs into another scene. This time, the beautiful girl stands alone on an empty road in the middle of the night. Her pretty, straight dark hair falls below her shoulders as she peers both ways down the street. Her bright pink shirt captivates her elegant features with ease. She appears alone but waiting for someone. She shivers from a sudden cool breeze.

“Come on… where are they?” she moans, which causes Damon’s dead heart to wrench in its place.

Her voice is like a melody to Damon, and unbeknownst to him, causes a slim change within. With each word she utters, each movement she makes, it breaks through the dead shell of his heart to allow a glimmer of light inside. It’s not a large crack nor is the light bright, but it’s enough to enter the deepest and darkest caverns of his soul.

“Who is she?” Damon asks in a daze.

“Your salvation.”

“Who is she?”

“Her name is Elena Gilbert,” Shiloh explains further. “She’s waiting for you in Mystic Falls.”

“How do you know this?” he asks, mystified at the revelation.

“Because she’s the best shaman this side of Mystic Falls,” Becca states matter-of-factly.

Damon falls silent as he watches the shadowy figure of Elena Gilbert stand on the empty road. Although he’s just in a trance caused by a mysterious liquid the shaman fed him, he can’t take his eyes off the pretty girl. But as the magic slowly wears off, he bolts upright in a fit of recognition.

“That girl… she looks exactly like…” Damon stops abruptly, unable to utter the next words.

He stares at the young shaman through the fire, who meets his gaze. She appears to know exactly what his next words would have been if he hadn’t stopped.

“But how?” he finally manages.

“That I am unable to tell you,” she simply states.

“Why? Because your magic potion can’t figure that out?” he scoffs.

“Because some things cannot simply be spoken. They must be experienced,” she corrects him. “That vision was not meant to reveal all to you.”

“Then what was the point?” Damon asked, annoyed with the shaman now. “I don’t like playing games without knowing all the rules.”

“Fate is not a game,” she retorts, as the flames seem to lick higher. “The vision was merely needed to open yourself to possibilities.”

Damon scoffs again as he scrambles to his feet and walks away from the fire and shaman. Although he leaves abruptly, Shiloh can sense that his heart feels a little lighter. For what the young shaman neglected to reveal was that the vision had allowed a sliver of light to create a hole just large enough to allow love to seep in and awaken his heart. It was simply a seed for now, but it would begin to grow the moment he set eyes on the mysterious girl. The young shaman hopes that one day, the vision would allow the vampire to be capable of knowing real love for someone as special as the mysterious Elena.

As Damon strides through the forest, his mind continuously strays back to the pretty, shadowy girl. Her face appears vividly in his mind, but with a completely different personality attached. Elena had appeared sweet, kind, and loving in the vision he was exposed to. However, his memory of that face is callous, evil, and deadly. Who could there be two different people with the same appearance? He doesn’t know the answer to the convoluted question, but he does know what he has the do next.

Dawn is still a few hours away, so that should be enough time for him to venture down the single lane street to Mystic Falls. After seeing Elena’s kind face in the vision, his only goal is to meet her. Meet her, and uncover who she really is. Because for all he knows, she’s innocent and oblivious to what he is.

For the woman with the same face from his distant past is anything but innocent. The face belongs to the love of his previous life. A love that has no business coming to fruition once again. However, maybe Elena Gilbert can be his second chance at love.